Asian century fades as the region grapples with social, political, and economic headwinds


A new book challenges conventional thinking about Asia


Credit: World Scientific

In Has Asia Lost It? Dynamic Past, Turbulent Future well-known Asia expert Vasuki Shastry asserts that the Asian miracle has come to an end and the future will be turbulent because of slowing growth, stalled social mobility, gender disparity, and messy geopolitics.

Asia has been the greatest show on earth since Japan’s rise after World War II, followed in turn by the Asian tigers and the two giants China and India. The region’s openness to trade and investment aligned perfectly with the tailwinds of globalisation. However, in recent years, Asia has become a victim of its own success with commentators not differentiating between a high income utopian Asia and a low-and-middle income dystopian Asia, where a majority of the population live. Covid-19 has exposed sharp weaknesses in the latter. Developing Asia’s growth-obsessed policymakers have ignored social tensions and pressures from the impact of technology on jobs, rising inequality, and fabulous wealth accumulation by a rapacious billionaire class. In his penetrating new book, Vasuki Shastry argues that while Asia’s reckoning may have been a subject of speculation before the pandemic, Covid-19 has made that inevitable.

Inspired by Dante’s Inferno, Vasuki Shastry takes readers on a journey through modern Asia’s eight circles of hell, where we encounter urban cowboys and cowgirls fleeing rural areas to live in increasingly uninhabitable cities; disadvantaged teenage girls facing social strictures and discrimination; internal mutiny; and messy geopolitics from the rise of China. Shastry challenges conventional thinking about Asia’s place in the world.


Has Asia Lost It? Dynamic Past, Turbulent Future is an essential read for those with an interest in the continent’s future and retails for US$28 / £25 (paperback) and US$68 / £60 (hardcover) and in electronic formats. To order or know more about the book, visit


About the Author

Vasuki Shastry is an associate fellow in the Asia Pacific program of Chatham House, the London think-tank, and runs a strategic communications and ESG consulting Firm in Washington D.C. Prior to this he worked in the public and private sector at the International Monetary Fund, Monetary Authority of Singapore, And Standard Chartered Bank. Shastry started his career as a journalist and was based in India, Singapore, and Indonesia. He covered the Asian financial crisis and the fall of Suharto, the subject of his first book Resurgent Indonesia: From Crisis To Confidence.

About World Scientific Publishing Co.

World Scientific Publishing is a leading international independent publisher of books and journals for the scholarly, research and professional communities. World Scientific collaborates with prestigious organisations like the Nobel Foundation and US National Academies Press to bring high quality academic and professional content to researchers and academics worldwide. The company publishes about 600 books and over 140 journals in various fields annually. To find out more about World Scientific, please visit

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